Saturday Kitchen

Tank!(by peter)

Saturday Kitchen is on fire. These days, it regularly attracts up to 2.5 million viewers. And it has some pretty good wines on it, too…

Of course, I would say all this: I’m biased. But it’s been interesting talking to the buyers for the major supermarkets and wine merchants at tastings recently, all of whom report significant sales spikes for (in some cases, selling out of) the wines we recommend after the shows go out. One senior Majestic buyer said, “It used to be the newspaper columns that lifted sales but these days it’s Saturday Kitchen.”

I don’t say this to blow our own trumpet. It’s just interesting to note how the appeal of the different media is changing and how SK has grown to become something of a cult success within this. It’s also great to see wines that we recommend – often made by passionate people in far-flung corners of the world doing a pretty tough job – being recognised and enjoyed because of it.

This last Saturday (17th Oct 09) I was recommending wines for two Michelin-starred chefs: Jason Atherton (Maze) and Michel Roux Jr (Le Gavroche). To see the show on iplayer and view their recipes, click here. (For reference, the wine bits start at 15.30 and 53.00 minutes – plus I’ll be posting these videos on the site soon.)

By way of a summary, Jason was cooking onglet (hanger or skirt steak), for which I recommended the Château de Säye 2006 (Marks & Spencer from £8.10 – a special offer deal available for a limited period). It went down very well – and so it should, because it’s a cracking wine. Jason said: “I like it: it’s got nice flavours and good body to stand up to the steak”, while James Martin called it, “a bit of a bargain” and Michel Roux Jr concurred: “I’m very happy with this: a bargain!”

For Michel’s veal blanquette, I bravely steered away from France (our budget wouldn’t stretch to red Burgundy) and went for the very toothsome Finest Marlborough Pinot Noir 2008 (Tesco, £6.98 – another special offer available for a limited period). Michel liked it so much he even forgave me for not going French: “well done” was his remark. To which James added, “and a good price as well”.

I have to say, though, that my favourite moment of the show was studio guest Jo Brand’s reaction to being asked what she thought of the claret.

“It’s red, it’s alcoholic…it’s good enough for me.”

The final match was the Taste the Difference Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie 2008 (£5.99, Sainsbury’s) for James’s shellfish sauce vierge with pan-fried cod (Jo’s idea of food hell).

Finally, for those of you who liked the tank, here’s a video (courtesy of director Andy Clarke) of said tank reversing into position with me in it…